A FRIENDLY food club has launched on Portland to a great response from island residents.

The island’s newest lunch club officially opened its doors with the aim of welcoming older residents, particularly those affected by isolation, ill health and disability.

More than 25 older residents attended the launch event and tucked into a free buffet featuring freshly prepared dishes such as tomato and basil soup, pan-fried salmon and apple crumble with ice-cream.

The Portland Friendly Food Club runs every first and third Monday of the month at Community 2000 (C2000) hall in Easton as a joint initiative between Island Community Action (ICA) and the Training and Learning Company (TLC).

The lunch club is funded by Dorset Partnership for Older People Projects (POPP) and Synergy Housing, with additional funding being provided by the Big Lottery Fund to cover transport. Glenys Williams, who was among the pensioners who attended the launch buffet, said: “What a fabulous event. The food and services were first class and being picked up and dropped off by ICA made it possible for me to attend.”

The Portland Friendly Food Club is delivered by ICA volunteers.

Tony Gibbons of the Training and Learning Company said: “Through a range of food-based and business training, we ensure volunteers are equipped with all the skills necessary to not only prepare the lunches, but also manage the club as a self-funding social enterprise.”

Last year, former cafe owner Mr Gibbons ran free cookery workshops for volunteers with an interest in learning new skills, or developing those they already had.

The next date of the lunch club is November 5. The club costs £4.50 for two courses. Contact ICA on 01305 823789 to find out more.